Failing to assess your clients skill and how much it will cost you.

In the case of Ahmed v MacLean [2016], a Lawyer attempted to sue his mountain bike coach for negligence. Mr Ahmed stated that the Coach(Mr MacLean) did not sufficiently assess the skills of his clients which lead to Mr Ahmed going down a portion of track that was above his skill levels. Mr Ahmed crashed, was launched over his handlebars and suffered a severe head injury.

He brought the case on the basis of contract-  s 13 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982,
Implied term about care and skill.

“In a [relevant contract for the supply of a service] where the supplier is acting in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the supplier will carry out the service with reasonable* care and skill. “

Essentially this act means he must do his job as well as the other mountain bike coaches and Ahmed argued that any other proficient coach would have sufficiently been able to assess his abilities. In this instance, it turns out that Mr Ahmed made the same mistake twice by going down the wrong path or track.

As a personal trainer, you will push your clients and encourage them to do better each time they train. However, what you need to be careful of here is that you are adequately assessing their skills and capabilities, as the second you push them beyond their limits and/or comfort zone you dramatically increase the risk of injury. If you have not properly assessed their skills you could find yourself locked in litigation desperately trying to protect your finances, business and your reputation as a trainer.

When looking back at the case, one of the mitigating factors was that Ahmed had been riding a mountain bike for years and should have known his comfort zone and potentially not to make the same mistake twice.

This may not be the case for you as a personal trainer, a lot of your clients will be stepping into the gym for the first time ever, or the first time in a very long time. Which makes it absolutely vital that you do an adequate assessment of their skills and ability.

Physical Activity and Readiness Questionnaires and detailed disclaimers and contracts will start you off on the right foot but ultimately when you are training your clients, vigilance is key. As ultimately you want what is best for the client, the last thing you’d want to be responsible for is their injury. 

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